My Bookmarks – Part 4

These last few weeks have been a blessing in many ways, growing closer to the Lord and becoming increasingly dependent on His grace. And so it is with a grateful and full heart that I write about:

4. Biola Library: Ok, so perhaps having Google Reader bookmarked (see part 1) was nerdy enough but this may seem to push things over the edge. I can hear you thinking, “you have a library bookmarked? What, so you can always be sure when it’s open and go read till your little nerdy heart’s content?” Well no (and yes). I would be lying to say that I have never checked the hours of the library via this bookmark however this bookmark brings up a more interesting question – the question of electronic resources.
Biola’s library has an extensive online/electronic catalog of resources whether that is article databases or actual ebooks. And so, when thinking about this bookmark, I naturally started thinking about online content, it’s availability and the ramifications.
Our world is going increasingly online. It’s a reality. Unless some incredible thing comes along that defeats the interweb in one foul stroke, it seems that the internet is the way of the future. There is a part of me that recoils against that reality – you know, that part that loves to snuggle up (in the manliest way) with a book (an actual physical one) and read while it rains outside (a very necessary part of the fantasy). Indeed, the more I talk to people it seems that this recoiling instinct is rather prevalent. We all use the internet because it has such extensive content but we all complain about it. And I’m not convinced that this is how we should live.
The internet poses many risks: it is filled with accessible inappropriate content, it poses security risks to personal computers (hackers), and it threatens to make us lazy. This last one is perhaps the most serious and should not be simply overlooked. There is a distinct difference between going to a library to research and hitting some keys on a keyboard in a search engine. Indeed, I find that I am more likely to skim an article that’s on my computer screen than in my hand (so it also affects content consumption).
So yes, the internet poses risks and we would do well to take precautions. However, the fact that I can access so many articles and so many books also has an advantage. As Christians, shouldn’t we rejoice that the gospel has yet another medium in which to spread its wings. Should we not praise God that there is yet another thing for him to demonstrate his love in redeeming? I think so. I think the fact that so much is going to the internet is not necessarily cause for mourning, it’s cause for worship. The gospel has never been and will not ever be limited by the medium. That should be the most important thing to us. Period. And so, in a strange sense, the breadth of content that points us towards Jesus should cause us to worship.
A strange idea? Maybe. I challenge you to try it. Instead of griping and groaning about the fact that the internet is taking over the world, worship because of the online content that points us to Christ, the Savior of that world.

3 thoughts on “My Bookmarks – Part 4

  1. Enjoyed this post … and left wondering about the adage that "the medium IS the message." How does "the Net" actually shape the gospel? While it contains the words of the gospel, does the web actually convey something about the gospel (impersonal, individual, private, cerebral, etc). Interested in your thoughts …

  2. I feel rather uncomfortable saying the Net shapes the gospel. True, it shapes the way the gospel is presented and therefore it does not reflect the gospel itself but rather the way we view the gospel. So the individual, private, cerebral, etc. is not implicitly a part of the gospel but rather a cultural imposition upon it. My guess, anonymous, is that you would probably agree with that and clearly it's a problem. Yet I think the problem needs to be confronted on the level of our cultural biases rather than on removing the gospel from the web. Just some thoughts.

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